Thursday, November 19, 2009

Diggin' In The Mudd: Has the Princeton community become passive?

While browsing Mudd this week, I found the following image, and I had to investigate.
This caught my attention because, lately, there's been much discussion of activism on the University campus. Many people seem to think that Princeton students are passive and don't care about anything outside the "bubble". The caption beneath the picture says, " Princeton students takeover the steps of the Institute for Defense Analysis, May 1970. The IDA protest was but one of many catalysts that led to the formation of the Special Committee on the Structure of the University."

The protest in the picture is in fact a protest of the Vietnam War. The protest was initiated by the Students for a Democratic Society after a student paper focused on the relationship between the Institute for Defense Analysis, on Princeton's campus, and Princeton University. Princeton leased a building to the IDA, a think tank initiated by the United States Department of Defense. This led to the view of many of campus, that the University's governance was supporting the Vietnam War and, by doing this, supporting corporate culture, the antithesis of the student movements present on so many college campuses at the time.

Protests of the building continued for years so much that by 1972, an article in the Deseret News says 190 students have been arrested during protests that year on Princeton's campus. Earlier protests, including the one in the picture, led to the creation of a committee to instigate change in the University's administration called The Committee on the Structure of the University. Later protests continued to bring nationwide attention to the issues on Princeton's campus and in society at the times, garnering national newspaper attention.

Today, there isn't nearly as much political activism on campus. Is this a function of the times or an indicator that Princeton students have become passive? The issue is up for debate, what do you think?

3 comments:

AC said...

Hm, so vandalism, and generally being a pain in the ass. I'll pass.

Cowen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

now I see it..